Helen Ives: Why unusual benefits are important to your business

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When you drag yourself into work on a dreaded Monday morning, wouldn’t it be nice to be greeted by a giant yellow slide, mini golf course and giant swing to put a smile back on your face?

That’s why it is important to have fun, innovate office spaces that help to boost morale and increase motivation in their staff. It’s a simple concept – if you’re happy at work, you’re more likely to be productive. It makes sense and yet not many companies can see the benefits of it.

Creating a fun, inspiring and creative office, which is also championed by the likes of Google and Innocent Smoothies, is a far cry from the idea of the traditional office. The PEER 1 Hosting EMEA HQ in Southampton encompasses features such as a cinema, BBQ deck, pub and lounge area to inspire employees. These may seem like a gimmick; however they are important factors to help make employees feel valued by the company.

With the decline of the job market and expectations on employees increasing, it’s no wonder staff generally aren’t too enthusiastic about work. PEER 1 Hosting recently conducted an independent survey on nurturing potential within the workplace that surprisingly found that only 10% of Brits are happy at work, and 87% would prefer more training and development opportunities over a higher salary. These are staggering results that demonstrate the real need for investing in your employees’ happiness and in the culture of your office. Making your employees feel wanted can make a vast difference to the way they approach their work and the attitude they come into the office with. Also, investing in staff helps to enhance the reputation of your company by showing that you appreciate your employees, which will in turn increase job applications and the likelihood that people will want to work for you.

Providing generous perks may be an expensive way of showing your appreciation, however there are simple (and less expensive) ways of showing your gratitude – but the point is that don’t forget to do it. The purpose of the PEER 1 Hosting office theme was to create a workspace that inspires staff and makes everyone that little bit more excited to turn up for work every morning. Happy employees = happy customers.  That makes fantastic business sense and we have company data on new customer acquisition and retention to prove that this formula works.

Our formula to nurturing a successful employee is to ensure that they are in the right job, in the right environment and alongside the right people (leader included). But before beginning this process, employers need to understand that office life has drastically changed in recent years and the way workers engage with one another has evolved, to the point where the traditional setup of someone sitting at their desk in silence is no longer effective. The barriers between working life and social life have eroded and the HR department must strive to make sure that people can bring their whole self to work. The objective should be to create a space where people can do their best work, achieve their potential and have fun.

With the arrival of new generations into the workplace, employers have to think of new ways to ensure that the culture of the office suits all staff members. Creating an inspiring and engaging environment is critical to helping teams to work effectively and add value to the business. Investing in staff happiness will ultimately motivate their spirits at work and in turn increase business profitability. A simple act like changing a meeting room to a lounge room can loosen the hierarchy in an organisation, promote worker confidence and encourage staff to voice their opinions. Given the amount of time that people spend at work is likely far more than they have available in their leisure time, it is essential to create an engaging atmosphere.

In the modern world, it’s now debatable whether employees really need a desk. We all have smartphones, laptops and email, so the reality is that people can work from anywhere. Given the option most workers would probably rather be walking around playing a spot of golf whilst on a conference call, rather than stuck behind their desk staring at their computer screen. The method isn’t as mad as it may sound; rather it encourages creativity and innovation. It is also essential to create zones in the office where people can find quiet time and recharge their batteries.

It’s these unusual perks that will engage your employees and make them feel valued. People who feel happy and motivated in their job will unquestionably be more productive and therefore help your business to enjoy more success. A successful organisation isn’t one that takes itself too seriously, and a sense of humour and personality are key factors. After all, who wouldn’t love to go to the greatest workplace in the world where no-one dreads Monday mornings?

Helen Ives, HR Director, PEER 1 Hosting

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About Helen Ives

FCIPD qualified and board-level HR Director with 15 years experience in international organisations. I have experience in matrixed and multi-site corporates supporting client groups in the thousands and have also worked with high-growth and start-up organisations. I have managed HR teams of between 5 and 35 people and have reported through both a CEO/MD and Group VP/HRD structure.

Specialising in change and growth, I understand that culture is king and that business success depends on having the very best people in the right place and at the right time. With a strong focus on execution, I align people practices with business needs in order to achieve revenue and profit objectives. As a coaching and empowering leader, I make things happen through involvement and influence, bringing people together in pursuit of an organisation’s bigger purpose. An advocate for the human workplace, pragmatic and challenging others to create an environment where people thrive and achieve success together.

Key Strengths: Strategic People & Business Planning, Multi-Site HR Management, Transformational HR, Organisational Development, Business Psychology, Talent Management, International Employment Law, Union Relations, TUPE, M&A
Sector Expertise: Technology, Media & Telcomms, Professional Services & Outsourcing, Supply Chain & Distribution

Seeking progressive HR and OD opportunities and flexible on location.

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